Jordyn Wieber was the crowd’s favourite and was expected to take home a fistful of medals, while her teammates Gabrielle Douglas and Alexandra Raisman looked unassuming. The 2012 London Olympics had the unexpected awes and shocks for the U.S. gymnastics team.
Wieber will leave the Olympics with just one gold medal from the team event and a suspected stress fracture in her right leg. Expectations were high and so was the pressure to perform. She was ousted from the individual all-around due to the Olympic rulebook, but she came back to help the U.S. gymnastics team to get the gold.
At the floor exercise routine this Tuesday, Wieber was the one everyone thought would get past Raisman for the gold. That did not happen. Instead, Raisman stole the show with the performance of her lifetime to grab the gold in a technically demanding floor exercise routine.
Raisman clearly overshadowed everyone else on the last day of the competition. Raisman performed to the music of “Hava Nagila” and became the first U.S. woman to win the floor exercise gold. The medal count for Raisman now goes to three – a gold medal each in the all-around team event and the individual floor exercise, and a bronze in the balance beam.
Gabrielle Douglas takes home two Olympic medals – the all-around team gold and the most-coveted prize of all, the individual all-around gold. Douglas had her shot at the uneven bars on Monday where she finished eighth, and the balance beam on Tuesday where she tumbled unusually from the apparatus.
Apart from the loss Jordyn Wieber suffered, the women gymnasts from the USA have every reason to celebrate. This is the first time they have won the team gold as well as the individual all-around. The medal count is behind the last Olympics; nonetheless some of it will go into the history books.
Wieber’s injury might be a cause of worry because she was a strong contender and the defending world champion. Though Wieber did not hype the injury, the lack in accuracy in her best event was clearly visible. Something in which Wieber is good at, she stepped out of the bounds quite early in the floor routine.
Some are arguing that Wieber peaked before time, but there have been series of events which point at the stress symptoms. Six weeks ago at the trials, Douglas came dangerously close, while Raisman sped past her in the all-around qualifying round in London. The protective boot on her right leg is unlikely a spoof to downplay the missed expectations, but this may be something serious that should have been dealt earlier.
The MRI didn’t reveal anything significant, but the gravity-defying moves of the teenage gymnasts do take a toll on the body. The human body isn’t designed to do those moves. For the young gymnasts, it’s just one shot at the Olympics after which they are unlikely to return to compete with the fresh talents.
Winning a gold at the Olympics is no mean feat. The fact that Wieber stood strong when it came to winning the team gold for her country is an accomplishment of a lifetime.